PROSPECT — UNCP Chancellor Robin Cummings borrowed a theme from the popular Dr. Suess book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” as he spoke to elementary school students this week.
Cummings used his personal story to illustrate how getting an education “will take you all the places you want to go.”
“After high school, I went to school to be a doctor,” Dr. Cummings said. “Then I went to school to become a heart surgeon. What gave me the opportunity to do that?” Cummings asked the 200 students seated inside the bold red gym at Prospect School.
“An education!” he said.
“Take advantage of your education and pay attention to your teachers. When you are at home and it’s raining outside, don’t watch television … pick up a book and read it.”
Chancellor Cummings was among several distinguished guest readers who visited Prospect and Oxendine Elementary schools during their Read Across America celebrations. Read Across America is an annual reading awareness program which encourages every child in every community to celebrate reading. March 2 marked the birthday of popular children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess.
Prospect Principal Jonathan Blue, ‘91, joined his students in giving Chancellor Cummings a rousing Wildcat welcome. Blue’s wife, Kellie, is also a UNCP graduate and current chairwoman of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees.
Earlier that morning, Cummings pulled up a chair and read to Shannon Bird’s first and second graders at Oxendine Elementary. Bird’s students crowded the chancellor when it was time to be quizzed on “Cat in the Hat.”
“This has always been one of my favorite things to do, since I was young,” Cummings told the students. “Reading introduced me to a whole new world.”
Mrs. Bird said she was thrilled when she learned her principal, Paul Locklear, invited the chancellor to read to her class. Bird, ‘05, and Locklear, ’95, are UNC Pembroke graduates. Two of Birds’ daughters are UNCP athletes. Laura Bird, a senior, is a member of the women’s golf team. Jamee, a sophomore, plays on the volleyball team.
After his visit, Chancellor Cummings praised our public educators for their role in preparing students for life after high school.
“It is never too early to begin reading to children,” Cummings said. “Our public school teachers play a critical role in molding our children and building a foundation rooted in education.
“From the kindergarten teacher to the college professor, we are all changing lives through education,” he said. “I encourage all teachers to continue to make reading fun in their classrooms because inside these classrooms are where many of our students will find inspiration.”